The FBI has come under sustained and deserved criticism for the past week due to public pronouncements regarding Hillary Clinton. They demonstrated a blatant double standard by releasing vague but damaging statements about Clinton a few days before an election. Those statements have allowed Clinton’s opponents to smear her, but leave her little of substance to rebut. However, the FBI refused to discuss investigations of Donald Trump’s shady connections to Russia saying that it’s too close to an election.
Now the New York Times is reporting that the FBI’s inquiry into the Clinton Foundation was built on discredited reporting by a well-known anti-Clinton hack. The Times writes that the FBI’s case:
“…had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book ‘Clinton Cash,’ according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case.”
In addition, CNN is reporting that internal discussions within the FBI debated whether to proceed with an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. However, according to CNN “Officials leading the meeting told the FBI that investigators hadn’t turned up much more evidence beyond that contained in ‘Clinton Cash.'” In other words, the whole affair was turning out to be a big nothingburger.
Some background is required on the book that the FBI has apparently embraced as the cornerstone of their inquisition. Clinton Cash was published last year as an attempt to connect donations to the Clinton Foundation with the personal finances of the Clintons. The book was harshly criticized for containing numerous factual errors and failing to document its thesis.
For instance, the book alleged that Clinton played a “central role” in approving the sale of a uranium company. It further alleged that she did so in return for a donation to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, the records show that Clinton didn’t weigh in on the matter at all. What’s more, the sale required the approval of nine different federal agencies, so Clinton’s participation would have had minimal impact. The book’s author later admitted in an ABC News interview that he had no evidence to substantiate his charge. That’s just one of many examples of the author’s dishonesty.
And speaking of the author, he is a long-time Republican activist named Peter Schweizer. His resume boasts stints with Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush. He has a history of making false allegations that often require retractions. One of his previous books was saddled with this audacious and absurd title: “Makers and Takers: Why Conservatives Work Harder, Feel Happier, Have Closer Families, Take Fewer Drugs, Give More Generously, Value Honesty More, Are Less Materialistic And Envious, Whine Less…And Even Hug Their Children More Than Liberals.” And…inhale.
Schweizer may seem like a peculiar choice for the FBI to hinge their case on. But wait up – it gets worse. Schweizer is also the president of a conservative “think” tank called the Government Accountability Institute (GAI). The GAI conducts studies that have about the same low level of credibility as Schweizer’s books. It’s purpose is to stream their poorly-sourced, partisan propaganda into the media. The chairman and founder of GAI is Stephen Bannon. Bannon is currently on leave from his job as chairman of Breitbart News so that he can run Donald Trump’s campaign for president.
So in summary, the FBI is basing their Clinton case on a widely debunked book, written by a disreputable Clinton foe, whose boss is a right-wing propagandist, and the CEO of Trump’s campaign. You may want to go back and read that sentence again slowly. It describes a severely maladjusted law enforcement agency that is improperly politicizing its work.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
And if that weren’t enough, recall that the Times also mentioned news reports as among the FBI’s sources. Presumably they are referring to reports like the hour-long special Fox News did on Schweizer’s book. It’s one thing when dimwitted wingnuts fall for malarkey from people like Schweizer and Fox News. But it’s much more depressing – and dangerous – when the FBI does it.